Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Intensive Mat Plus 2011

We just finished up the last Intensive Mat Plus course for this year and we had a lot of fun!  All of these women are awesome instructors and we had so much fun in this course.  I finally remembered to take some pictures and wanted to make sure I shared them with all of you.  

Thanks to all of you for making the course so fun and successful.  I truly enjoyed getting to know all of you and helping you in your certification process.  I hope to see you all soon.  Enjoy the pictures!


Intensive Mat Plus Course in November/December 2011
The whole crew...minus Leota....she was taking the picture
The whole crew...with Leota
Mel teaching us how to use our bootie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great Article From about finding and correctly using your oblique abdomen muscles! I love how they point out that you can flex your oblique muscles anytime--standing in line is a great one!


How to Flex Obliques
Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
Obliques typically refer to a group of two muscle sections, the external obliques and the internal obliques. The external oblique is a thin, broad muscle that stretches across either side of the abdomen. The internal oblique is located directly below the external, its fibers running nearly perpendicular. In most humans, fat deposits cover the oblique muscles, rendering them invisible. With dramatic fat loss and muscle toning, you can make your obliques visible. Flexing the obliques will aid in toning them and increasing their definition.


Flexing the obliques is not always as easy as it sounds, even if you know where they are located. Engage your abdominal region and suck your belly button in toward your spine. You should feel a contraction in the muscles across the front of your stomach. Hold this contraction and slowly bend to the right side, pulling your ribcage toward your hipbone. The flexion you feel across the right side of your abdomen is your obliques. Practice this to either side until flexing your obliques comes natural.


Sit in a chair with your back straight or stand with your feet hip width apart, shoulders back. Gently repeat the flexion that pulls your ribcage toward your hips, allowing as little movement as possible. Repeat this, flexing the right side, then the left, for about 30 seconds. Stop the back-and-forth flexion and rest a moment. Flex the obliques on the right side of your torso as though you will continue the back-and-forth flexion. However, this time, do not allow your torso to move, flexing the obliques only as much as your immobile abdomen allows. Practice in front of a mirror to ensure your abdomen is not moving. You might notice the side of your stomach pulling in or straightening as you flex; this is caused by the tightening affect the muscles have on the waistline.


Once the flexion comes natural to your muscle memory, you can do it anywhere. Any time you are sitting or standing, you can flex your obliquees, such as while waiting in line at the grocery store, talking on the phone, making breakfast or working at your desk. Flexing your obliques is a light isometric exercise that will help tone and strengthen the muscles. In addition, flexing them intentionally during an oblique exercise will make it more effective and will burn more calories.


Exercising your obliques can build mass, increase strength and allow you to flex the muscle group easily. Side dips, trunk twists, twisting crunches, side planks, knee-ups and many other exercises will tone the obliques over time. Before beginning any exercises, consult a certified physical trainer or ask your physician to show you proper form. Executing the exercises improperly can be less effective or cause injury. In addition, speak with your physician about altering your diet to support increased physical activity.


Article reviewed by OmahaTyppo Last updated on: Nov 20, 2011

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Saturday, November 19, 2011


Great article from explaining the difference between flexibility and range of motion in a joint.  Both are needed to maintain a healthy, fully-functioning musculo-skeletal system!


Difference Between Flexibility & Range of Motion
Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
Flexibility may refer to bones, muscles and joints. The term can also refer to other parts of the anatomy. For example, ligaments are said to be flexible. Flexing a ligament too far, however, can result in serious injury. Range of motion, in medical terms, generally refers to how well the joints in the human body move. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the results of a study measuring normal range of motion for five major joints of movement in the human body. These measurements establish standard values.


To have good range of motion, a joint must be flexible. For example, good range of motion of a ball-and-socket joint such as at the shoulders permits movement in all planes or all directions. A hinged joint, like that of the knee, allows movement in one direction only, or a limited plane. To have good range of motion and good flexibility, the hinged joint should provide full movement within the one normal plane.


Saddle joints, such as at the base of the thumb between the trapezium and metacarpal bones, facilitate movement in two planes, but do not rotate around the bases of the bones. Range of motion in a saddle joint permits this back-and-forth movement. Thus, this joint with full range of movement will have good flexibility. When an area has more than one type of joint, the full range of motion is the sum of the movements of all joints. For example, the elbow has both a pivot joint and a hinged joint. Both must present good flexibility for the elbow to exhibit full range of motion.


Things that can reduce flexibility, thus inhibiting range of motion, include infection in a joint that causes swelling, arthritis in the joint or an injury such as a sprain. Extended immobilization of a joint can also lead to limited flexibility as the ligaments contract and stiffen. According to MedlinePlus, the U.S. National Library's medical encyclopedia, stretching a joint can improve flexibility, which in turn reduces the risk of injury by permitting full range of motion in the joint.


In many instances in the human body, cartilage permits flexibility. For example, in osteoarthritis, a gradual decrease in joint flexibility usually results as cartilage deteriorates. The flexibility provided by rib cartilage allows the lungs to expand and deflate in breathing. Furthermore, flexibility is often a measurement of physical fitness when taken in conjunction with muscle coordination, strength and endurance. An example of an athlete with high flexibility would be a professional gymnast. Range of motion exercises, which increase joint flexibility as well as muscle strength and endurance, can have significant benefits, improving the ease with which normal daily activities can be accomplished.


Article reviewed by Michael Carroll Last updated on: Nov 18, 2011

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